Platform (for a pdf version Platform)
Text Revised 6/96 (Welfare/Workfare Section added 3/97) web edition 11/97 Labor section updated and Table of Contents added 02/00
1) GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY
2) SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
3) ECOLOGICAL WISDOM
6) COMMUNITY-BASED ECONOMICS AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE
7) GENDER EQUITY AND FEMINISM
8) RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY
9) PERSONAL AND GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY
10) FUTURE FOCUS AND SUSTAINABILITY QUALITY OF LIFE
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
B. HEALTH CARE
C. WELFARE / WORKFARE
D. TAX JUSTICE/FAIRNESS
E. MANAGEMENT-LABOR RELATIONS RESOLUTION ON LABOR
F. CRIMINAL JUSTICE
G. CIVIL AND EQUAL RIGHTS
H. FREE SPEECH
I. NATIVE AMERICANS
L. NATIONAL SERVICE
A. ENERGY POLICY
B. NUCLEAR ISSUES
C. WASTE MANAGEMENT
D. FOSSIL FUELS
E. RENEWABLE ENERGY
F. TRANSPORTATION POLICY
G. GREENHOUSE EFFECT/OZONE-DEPLETION
H. LAND-USE POLICIES
J. AGRICULTURAL POLICY
K. BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
B. CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY
C. LIVABLE INCOME
D. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
E. SMALL BUSINESS AND JOB CREATION
G. RURAL DEVELOPMENT
H. "BANKING FOR PEOPLE"
I. INSURANCE REFORM
J. PENSION REFORM
K. ANTI-TRUST ENFORCEMENT
L. TECHNOLOGY AND DEFENSE CONVERSION
M. THE NATIONAL DEBT
The NEW MEXICO GREEN PARTY is a grassroots organization of citizens who have come together to work for political and social renewal. The NEW MEXICO GREENS is an autonomous statewide group, which recognizes the national Green program but is in no way bound by the decisions of Greens outside New Mexico. The NEW MEXICO GREEN PLATFORM is an evolving document, a living "work-in-progress" that expresses our commitment to creating meaningful and enduring change in the political process.
Our Party's first priority is to "value-based politics", in contrast to the politics of exploitation, consumption, and non-sustainable competition.
We believe in an alternative, independent politics, and active, responsible government.
We believe in empowering citizens and communities. We offer hope and a CALL TO ACTION.
This is our challenge. If you want to preserve New Mexico's beautiful land and cultural diversity; if you are concerned with economic dependence on outside forces and uncontrolled growth; if you are troubled by the influence of powerful special interests over politics -- then you belong in the Greens.
In this platform we make our case -- to change the way government operates -- to change the quality of our everyday lives -- to build a vision that brings new and lasting opportunities to the land and people of New Mexico.
The Greens are a world-wide political movement with roots in democratic, social and ecological principles.
The New Mexico Green Party affirms shared Core Values that serve to focus our vision and policies.
In professing a politics based on values, we see an intimate connection between our rights as individuals and our responsibility to our neighbors, our community, and the Earth. The New Mexico Green Party declares these values on which our political action is based, and joins the worldwide call to move beyond politics of the past to create a new and independent democratic alternative:
1. Grassroots Democracy
2. Social Justice and Equal Opportunity
3. Ecological Wisdom
6. Community-Based Economics and Economic Justice
7. Gender Equity and Cooperation
8. Respect for Diversity
9. Personal and Global Responsibility
10. Future Focus and Sustainability and Quality of Life
Every human being deserves a say in the decisions that effect their lives; no one should be subject to the will of another. Therefore, we will work to increase public participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We will also work to create new types of political organizations which expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process.
All persons should have the rights and opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, barriers such as racism and class oppression, sexism and heterosexism, ageism and disability, which act to deny fair treatment and equal justice under the law.
Human societies must operate with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature. We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society which utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. To this end we must practice agriculture which replenishes the soil; move to an energy efficient economy; and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.
It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to our current patterns of violence at all levels, from the family and the streets, to nations and the world. We will work to demilitarize our society and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments. We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in helpless situations. We promote nonviolent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.
Centralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. Therefore, we support a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system which is controlled by, and mostly benefits, the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should, as much as possible, remain at the individual and local level, while assuring that civil rights are protected for all citizens.
We recognize it is essential to create a vibrant and sustainable economic system, one that can create jobs and provide a decent standard of living, for all people, while maintaining a healthy ecological balance. A successful economic system will offer meaningful work with dignity, while paying a "living wage" which reflects the real value of a person's work. Local communities must look to economic development that assures protection of the environment and workers' rights, broad citizen participation in planning, and enhancement of our "quality of life". We support independently owned and operated companies which are socially responsible, as well as co-operatives and public enterprises that spread out resources and control to more people through democratic participation.
We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control, with more cooperative ways of interacting which respect differences of opinion and gender. Human values such as equity between the sexes, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience. We should remember that the process that determines our decisions and actions is just as important as achieving the outcome we want.
We believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships across these lines. We believe the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closed out of leadership roles. We acknowledge and encourage respect for other life forms and the preservation of biodiversity.
We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal well-being and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.
Our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals. We seek to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or "unmaking" all waste we create, while developing a sustainable economics that does not depend on continual expansion for survival. We must counter-balance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions.
Our overall goal is not merely to survive, but to share lives that are truly worth living. We believe the quality of our individual lives is enriched by the quality of all of our lives. We encourage everyone to see the dignity and intrinsic worth in all of life, and to take the time to understand and appreciate themselves, their community and the magnificent beauty of this world. We respect the miracle of life, and the amazing cosmos that nourishes us.
The NEW MEXICO GREEN PARTY proposes a substantive change in the direction of contemporary American politics.
As the year 2000 approaches, we look back with somber reflection at how we have been as a people and as a nation. Realizing our actions will be judged by future generations, we ask how, with foresight and wisdom, we can renew the best of our past, calling forth a spirit of change and participation that speaks for a free and democratic society.
We submit a bold vision of our future, a PLATFORM on which and for which we stand:
An ethic of KEY VALUES that sets forth a POLITICS OF ACTION founded on the best ideas and highest values of our body politic
A HOPEFUL, CHALLENGING PLAN for a successful and sustainable economy
A CALL TO ACTION to create and conserve a rich, diverse environment characterized by a sense of community
What we are proposing is a vision of the common good that goes beyond special interests, the business of politics, and traditional partisanship.
What we are proposing is an INDEPENDENT POLITICS -- a democratic vision that empowers and reaches beyond background and political loyalty to bring together our combined strengths as a people.
We, the GREEN PARTY, submit that cooperation and mutual aid will bring a wiser and ultimately more successful strategy of political and economic progress -- of human growth, maturity and freedom as we learn to adapt in an evolving, challenging world.
As in nature, where adaptation and diversity provide values key to a successful strategy of survival, a successful political strategy is one that is diverse, adaptable to changing needs, strong and resilient in its core values.
It is evident to us that a "new world era" -- of peace and prosperity; human rights and individual empowerment; health care and dignity of life -- will be the result of domestic and international policies that respect and encourage:
DEMOCRACY, practiced most effectively at the grassroots level and in local communities
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, emphasizing personal and social responsibility, accountability and non-violence
ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY, balancing the competing interests of market-and value-driven business; of the community and the land; of living and future generations
Looking to the future with hopeful optimism, WE THE GREEN PARTY believe that we can truly change history -- that we can make a real difference as we work to shape our common destiny that links us together in New Mexico, across the nation and around the globe.
Today, our government too often is separated from the lives of its citizens. Democracy relies on the consent and involvement of the governed, yet we see a political system far removed from the concerns of ordinary people. The forces of big money and narrow special interests are assaulting the public trust in the name of greed. Challengers to an entrenched political elite are dissuaded from running for office as unprecedented money, in the hundreds of millions, flows into campaign war chests. Thousands of full-time lobbyists block reform. The role of political action committees (PACs) is excessive and exerts undue influence over politics -- our democratic system is under assault, to the detriment of the American people and their communities.
The GREEN PARTY, in association with those citizen groups and political campaigns calling for real reform, accountability and responsibility in government, proposes a COMPREHENSIVE POLITICAL REFORM AGENDA. Informed debate and resultant public policy should be judged on the merits, not on the quid pro quo of political barter and money. We propose CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM, including caps on spending and contributions, at the national and state level, to remove undue influence in political campaigns. We will work to ban or greatly limit political action committees. We support significant LOBBYING REGULATION, strict rules that disclose the extent of political lobbying via "gifts" and contributions. Broad-based reforms in how government works, with CONGRESSIONAL REORGANIZATION and TERM LIMITS at the national level and ETHICS LAWS at the state level, should be instituted. We support "Sunshine Laws" that open up the political system to access by ordinary citizens.
We endorse restructuring our political institutions to achieve more responsive and responsible government. Democracy works best when there is trust in government, not cynicism. We pledge to work to restore electoral politics. We recognize individual empowerment, full citizen participation, and PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION as the foundation of effective democracy.
We understand that, to adapt to changing social and ecological needs, institutions should be as inclusive and non bureaucratic as possible. To this end, we encourage building alternative, grassroots institutions that support participatory democracy at the local level.
Using our voice to help others find their voice, a national Green Party should spring from state and local Green electoral efforts and through political campaigning at every level. We look toward forming bioregional confederations to coordinate regional issues based on natural and ecosystem boundaries instead of traditional political ones.
Greens advocate direct democracy as a response to local needs and issues, where all concerned citizens can discuss and decide questions that immediately affect their lives, such as land use, parks, schools and community services. We hold as a "key value" GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY and, as such, would decentralize many state functions in New Mexico to the county level and seek expanded roles for neighborhood boards/associations. Acknowledging that many elected officials are not elected by a majority of the eligible voters, we support proportional representation at all levels of government to allow more persons to have their views represented by elected officials.
We would increase the opportunities for participatory democracy and endorse and advocate citizen rights to INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM and RECALL. We will act to broaden voter participation and BALLOT ACCESS, urging UNIVERSAL VOTER REGISTRATION and an ELECTION DAY HOLIDAY. We believe that a binding "None of the Above" option on the ballot should be considered. We support the discussion of deep changes in political campaigns to bring about electoral fairness, for example, providing free television and mail under reasonable conditions for every qualified statewide, congressional, presidential candidate and party.
We support citizen involvement at all levels of the decision-making process and hold that DIRECT ACTION can be an effective tool where peaceful democratic activism is appropriate. We support the right to nonviolent direct action that supports green values.
We call for the elimination of provisions prohibiting local (county or district) parties. We call for citizen control of REDISTRICTING processes.
Community is the basic unit of green politics because it is personal, value-oriented and small enough for each member to have an impact. We look to community involvement as a foundation for public policy. Social diversity is the well-spring of community life, where old and young, rich and poor, people of all races and beliefs can interact individually and learn to care for each other, to understand and cooperate. We emphasize a return to local, face-to-face relationships that humans can understand, cope with, and care about. We call for increased public transportation, and convenient playgrounds and parks for all sections of cities and small towns, and funding to encourage diverse neighborhoods.
We call for social policies to focus on protecting FAMILIES. The young, the citizens of tomorrow, are increasingly at risk. "A CHILDREN'S AGENDA" should be put in place to focus attention and concerted action on the future that is in our children. Programs must be encouraged that ensure children, the most vulnerable members of society, will receive basic nutritional, educational and medical necessities. A universal, federally funded CHILDCARE program for pre-school and young schoolchildren should be developed. Family assistance, available to working poor families in which the parent supports and lives with the children, such as the EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT, should be maintained and increased to offset regressive payroll taxes and growing inequalities in society. We support successful PRE-NATAL PROGRAMS and "HEAD START. "It is our realization that "a living family wage" is vital to the social health of communities.
Within the Greens, as we look at community issues, it is a guiding principle to "think globally, act locally". Community needs recognize a diversity of issues, and LOCAL CONTROL recognizes a variety of approaches to solving problems, one that tends to be "bottom up" not "top down. "Green politics does not place its faith in paternalistic "big government". Instead face-to-face interactions are essential to productive and meaningful lives for all citizens. The Green vision calls for a GLOBAL COMMUNITY of communities, recognizing our immense diversity, respecting our personal worth, and sharing a global perspective. We call for "A POLITICS OF 2000", which acknowledges our endangered planet and habitat. Our politics responds to global crisis with a new way of seeing our shared INTERNATIONAL SECURITY.
We conceive of a new era of international cooperation and communication, a set of responses nurturing CULTURAL DIVERSITY, recognizing the interconnectedness between communities, and promoting opportunities for cultural exchange and assistance. We endorse an EXPANDED PEACE CORPS. We encourage the important work of NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS (NGO's), much in evidence at the UN "Earth Summit" in 1992. We support the leading-edge work of NON-PROFIT PUBLIC INTEREST GROUPS, and those individuals breaking out of "careerism" to pursue NON-TRADITIONAL CAREERS in public service.
As we look back at the wars and deprivations of the past, and set our minds to overcoming continued conflicts and violence, we realize the difficulties inherent in encouraging democracy, and of advancing the cause of PEACE. GREENS support sustainable development and social and economic justice across the globe. Reduced militarism and reliance on arms policies is the key to progress toward collective security.
With THE END OF THE COLD WAR has come a more complex set of challenges in how our nation defines its NATIONAL SECURITY. Our present task is to rid ourselves of the residue of the geopolitical conflict of East versus West -- with its bloated defense budgets, thousands of unneeded nuclear weapons and major troop deployments overseas. We will strive to cut the DEFENSE BUDGET by 50 percent by the year 2000, from approximately $300 million in 1993. We must maintain a viable American military force, foreign policy doctrine and strategy that takes into account real, not hollow, threats to our people, democratic institutions and interests.
We affirm our nation's place in the history of nations as the standard-bearer of democratic, representative government; as the home of the American Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and civilian control over the military. It is therefore appropriate that we call for our foreign policy establishment to engage in a national debate on how we can convert to a PEACETIME ECONOMY. We believe our nation's ultimate strength is in its people and a healthy economy, which will best protect our security over the long-term.
We endorse a reordering of priorities as to how our nation can best achieve "National Security. "The Green Party asserts that security and liberty prosper together. HUMAN RIGHTS are the foundation of EMERGING DEMOCRACIES and international relations. We argue that the support of democracy, human rights and respect for international law should be the cornerstone of American foreign policy. In this regard we endorse ending support for repressive regimes; we believe the US and all nations should abide by World Court decisions; we support the right of Habeas Corpus be available to any person, anywhere, whose imprisonment violates fundamental norms of international law.
It is our belief that the massive debt owed by the Third World is causing immense misery and environmental destruction. FOREIGN AID must be addressed in the context of retiring this debt and not forcing, via the INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND and WORLD BANK, "structural adjustments" on the economies of the underdeveloped world. These "adjustments" have caused devastation in social and educational programs, mass unemployment and a huge environmental toll. We call for a more enlightened policy on the part of INTERNATIONAL AGENCIES and their financial arms which takes into account the impact of international debt management. The US should rein in the IMF and World Bank, whose policies have wreaked havoc, and demand that loans be conditional on human and labor rights records, social and environmental impact statements, and the providing of basic health and education.
INTERNATIONAL LAW and INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS are inseparable. As we examine the state of US relations throughout the world, in areas of mutual cooperation and alliances, or where regional conflicts are demanding new approaches to resolution and long-term solutions, Greens profess that there is a link between our policies and our values. We do not support a world-view that relies on accommodation of tyranny or repressive regimes.
We encourage policies that work to assist the FORMER SOVIET UNION in its move toward a government based on rights and a more open political and economic system. We support peace in the MID-EAST based on respect for civil liberties and human rights. We endorse human rights policies in regard to relations with CHINA, SOUTH AFRICA and other nations with a history of rights violations. We support the end of the economic blockade of Cuba. Unjust economic coercion by one state against another constitutes a violation of human rights.
We believe in the core "RIGHT OF SELF-DETERMINATION"; of the special character and needs of INDIGENOUS PEOPLES; of the essential importance of balancing economic development in the THIRD WORLD with a respect for the "old ways".
We trust in NONVIOLENCE as a weapon of PEACE. We understand the right of self-defense yet believe we must move beyond behavior that perpetuates violence. We oppose structural and direct violence of all kinds -- assaults against individuals, families, the environment and biosphere, nations and society.
Essential in any broad definition of SECURITY, whether defined in national, international or global terms, is that we must find ways to secure and preserve our common earth which sustains all life. We must look to domestic and international regulation of the global ecology, utilizing the UNITED NATIONS AND RELATED AGENCIES and regional associations to advance our mutual interests. We must build on the "Earth Charter" which came out of the 1992 UN environmental "Earth Summit. "New definitions of what constitutes real security between nations must be debated and adopted by the foreign policy community.
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
The failing report card of American education is troubling for most every American. Who fails to see the connection between our investment in education and our success as a people? Who believes there is no relation between personal achievement and a quality education -- an education that teaches creative and critical thinking skills and a respect for lifelong learning? Where can we best make a difference in our future? The Green Party maintains that restoring community is central to expanded opportunity, and access to quality education for all Americans is the difference that will lead to a strong and diverse community. The Green Party seeks fundamental change in our priorities, at the national and local levels, within the public and private sectors, in the classroom and at home, to make education our first priority.
Greens support EDUCATIONAL DIVERSITY. We do not hold any dogma absolute. We believe we must continually strive for truth in the realm of ideas. We open ourselves, consciously and intuitively to truth and beauty in the world of nature. We view learning as a lifelong process to which all people have an equal right.
Education starts with CHOICE and within public education we believe in broad choices. "Magnet Schools", "Site-Based Management", "Schools within Schools", alternative models and parental involvement are ways in which elementary education can be changed to make a real difference in the lives of our children. CURRICULUM should focus on SKILLS, both basic skills that serve as a solid foundation for higher learning, and exploratory approaches that expand horizons, for example, program diversity, "interactive" education, computer proficiencies, perspectives that bring an enriched awareness of nature ("biological literacy"), intercultural experiences, and language.
We advocate creative and noncompetitive education at every age level, and the inclusion of cultural diversity in all curricula. We encourage "hands on" approaches that encourage a multitude of individual learning styles.
RESPONSIBILITY, both individual and social, is the key to educational achievement. There can be no fundamental reordering of priorities in how we treat education without each of us acknowledging our own responsibility in making meaningful choices. In New Mexico over 1/3 of the children of elementary age live below the poverty line. Over 1/2 of our children below 17 years of age have both parents working. PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY means finding ways to help support parents in their efforts to help support their children, as more families confront economic conditions demanding a greater deal of time be spent away from home. Parents should be as involved as possible in their children's education; values do start with parents.
STUDENT RESPONSIBILITY is also key to developing intrinsic capabilities. Greens hold strongly to empowerment of individuals and therefore we support each student recognizing his or her own personal responsibility -- to strive to achieve their fullest potential as individuals.
As Greens we acknowledge the need to see with a perspective to the larger picture. In education, FEDERAL POLICY over education should act principally to ensure equal opportunity to a quality education. Educational funding formulas at the STATE LEVEL need to be adjusted as needed to avoid gross inequalities between districts and schools. Educational grants should provide necessary balance to ensure equal educational access to minority, deprived, special needs and exceptional children. In higher education, federal college scholarship aid should be increased and aimed at excluding no qualified students.
EDUCATIONAL POLICY IN NEW MEXICO is of special interest to the New Mexico Green Party. Unfortunately, we find our State near the bottom of the U. S. in educational rankings and statistics. Our students deserve much better. Our teachers find they are underpaid, overworked and that they are rarely supplied with the resources necessary to do the work most are sincerely trying to do to reach their students. Our State spends less than 1/2 of its budget on education, down significantly from previous spending levels. Contributions from other sources -- the Federal government, cities, private corporations, foundations -- have not made up the shortfall, which is obvious to all educators. It is time to stop disinvesting in education, and start putting education at the top of New Mexico's social, and economic, agenda.
We assert that there needs to be a profound shift to investing in and recognizing the importance of our schools -- our students, teachers, support programs and educational infrastructure -- if there is to be a real reduction in the many social problems facing us in New Mexico.
The philosophy of the Greens fosters education being placed at the center of our future well-being. Resources spent on education will produce a multiplier effect carrying over into countless productive and beneficial activities. We must reclaim the belief that education matters, that efforts to improve schools will help ensure economic and social justice in every community.
In this regard, we call on all Greens to include education as a regular part of our meetings so we can be clear about what unites us as well as what divides us. We call for more equitable state and national funding of school education and the creation of NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS controlled by parent-teacher governing bodies. We support after-school programs for "latchkey" children. We advocate state funding for DAY CARE that includes school children under the age of ten when after-school programs are not available.
We know that government has a long way to go to meet the salary needs of teachers. Respect for, and authority of, classroom teachers is also essential for educational improvement. Classroom teachers at the elementary and high-school levels should be given professional status, and should have greater autonomy in their professional performance. Principals are essential components in effective educational institutions. We encourage the State Department of Education and School Boards to deliver more programmatic support and decision-making to the true grassroots level -- i. e. , the classroom teacher and school principal.
Greens respect the need for a multiplicity of educational alternatives, including PRIVATE, COOPERATIVE and PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS, for which communities should help find resources to support their essential work. We call for the teaching of non-violent conflict resolution at all levels of education. We recognize the viable alternative of HOME-BASED EDUCATION. We support a host of innovative and critical educational efforts, such as BI-LINGUAL EDUCATION, CONTINUING EDUCATION, JOB RETRAINING, MENTORING AND APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS.
The teaching of meaningful trades should be given a greater priority within middle and high schools, and students who choose to learn a trade should be given the same degree of respect given to academic students.
We are deeply concerned about the intervention in our schools of corporations that promote a culture of consumption and waste. Schools should not expose children to commercial advertising.
Within higher education, we oppose military and corporate control over the priorities and topics of academic research. We call for the UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO Board of Regents to be elected and that there be voting student and faculty members on the Board. We support tuition-free post secondary (collegiate and vocational) public education.
Greens view learning as a lifelong and life-affirming process to which all people should have access. We cannot state more forcefully our belief that in learning, and openness to learning, we find the foundation of our Platform.
Fundamental reform of our nation's health care system is necessary to provide affordable, quality and accessible health care for all Americans. Currently, we are the only industrialized country without a national health care system. Unfortunately we have a private insurance system that insures only the healthiest people, systematically denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions and routinely terminating coverage to those who become ill.
The current system's high costs and widely recognized failures, in New Mexico and throughout the nation, demand that bold steps, not incremental ones, be taken. In our state, a quarter of our citizens are without any health insurance and, according to Families USA, 21,000 New Mexicans are losing their health insurance each month, often to stay uninsured because of hardship. This must change.
Alongside the many Americans who are calling for action which makes clear that health care should be a right, not a privilege, the Green Party states with a clear voice its strong support for UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE.
We call for passage of legislation at the national and state level that guarantees comprehensive benefits for all Americans through a single-insurer ("SINGLE-PAYER") system funded by the federal government and administered at the state and local levels. At the same time we shift away from the current failed system, we support maintaining private medical providers including doctors, hospitals, clinics and health maintenance organizations (HMO's).
We support cost savings by small business and it's estimated that businesses will save significantly compared to their current premiums -- an estimated $900 billion by the year 2000 under the proposed single-payer "National Health Trust Fund" plan. Although the insurance industry lobby has spent and is spending tens of millions of dollars to stop comprehensive health care reform, we endorse NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE and demand that Congress act promptly to support the "Universal Health Care Act of 1992" (S. 2320, authored by Senator Wellstone).
Major features of this health care legislation include -- UNIVERSAL ACCESS without concern for work status or health history; FREEDOM OF CHOICE so patients can choose their own clinics, doctors or other health care professionals; substantial COST SAVINGS through annual, global budgets, national fee schedules, and streamlined administration which acts to eliminate the waste of the current system; COMPREHENSIVE BENEFITS, without insurance premiums, deductibles or copayments, including hospital and physician care, prescription drugs, dental and vision care, reproductive and preventative care, and defined mental health benefits; a focus on RURAL HEALTH SERVICES; and continued support of MEDICAL RESEARCH into the quality, effectiveness and appropriateness of medical care.
Any successful reform of our health care system must start with WELLNESS education; that is, PREVENTATIVE health care. It is each of our responsibilities to tend to our own health through EDUCATION, DIET, NUTRITION and EXERCISE. The US Surgeon General has stated that a large percentage of illness is diet-related; therefore improving the quality of our nation's FOOD SUPPLY and our personal eating habits will go a long way toward improving our health care system -- by reducing the need for care.
Chronic conditions are often best cured by ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE. We support a wide-range of health care services, not just traditional medicine which too often emphasizes "a medical arms race" relying upon high-tech intervention and surgical techniques. We call for INFORMED CONSENT LAWS. Regarding the use of the toxic metal mercury in dentistry, we support the patient's right to know and freedom of choice in their health care. We support the teaching of HOLISTIC HEALTH approaches and, as appropriate, the use of complementary and alternative therapies such as herbal medicines, homeopathy, acupuncture, and other healing approaches.
PRIMARY CARE, through a renewed attention to family medicine as opposed to increased medical specialization, is appropriate and necessary.
Special attention must be given to WOMEN'S HEALTH ISSUES, including reproductive rights and family planning. We believe the right of a woman to control her own body is inalienable. It is essential that the option of a safe, legal abortion remains available. Medical research must be increased, and alternative therapies actively sought, to combat breast cancer.
We call for adequate SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES being made available to those who have special needs -- the mentally ill, the handicapped, those who are terminally ill. We call for wider implementation of hospice care.
We believe an all out campaign must be waged against AIDS AND HIV, and call for the implementation of the recommendations of the National Commission on AIDS, and full funding of the Ryan White Care Act. We call for prevention awareness and access to condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS. We condemn HIV-related discrimination; would make drug treatment and other programs available for all addicts who seek help; would expand clinical trials for treatments and vaccines; and speed up the FDA drug approval process.
We must recognize that our health is intimately tied to the health of our communities and our environment. If we are to truly make our lives healthier, we must look to improving the health of our workplaces, our homes, and our schools, our air, water and food. Air pollution that diminishes our children's lung capacity; pesticides in food that can poison; lead and heavy metals in water; all the non-point and direct sources of pollution and contaminants in our health environment must be effectively dealt with if we, as an informed society, are to consciously act to support our long-term health.
The passage of the 1996 WELFARE ACT by Congress, and its signing by the President, confronts us with hard choices. Democrats and Republicans seem to be saying we cannot afford to care for children and poor mothers. In ending over fifty years of federal policy guaranteeing cash assistance for poor children, Congress has set in motion a radical experiment that will have profound impact on the lives of the weakest members of our society. How will the states, city and county governments, local communities, businesses, churches all of us respond?
We believe we have a special responsibility to the health and well-being of the young. Yet we see the federal safety net being removed and replaced with limited and potentially harsh state welfare programs. How will social services be adequately provided if local resources are stretched thin already? We believe our community priorities must first protect the young and helpless. Yet how will state legislatures and agencies, under pressure from more powerful interests, react? We believe local decision-making is important, but we realize, as we learned during the civil rights era, that strict federal standards must guide state actions in providing basic protections. As the richest nation in history, we should not condemn millions of children to a life of poverty, while increasing corporate welfare to historic highs.
The transition of power to states, as both major parties restructure the extent of future welfare for children and the poor, brings great risk as it promises to completely change the welfare system. Although providing alternatives to public assistance through WORKFARE, as it is being called, is postured as the solution to poverty, and blaming the poor for their condition has become a popular political tactic, we ask what of those who cannot find employment because of job unavailability; who cannot work because of disability, because of age, because of illness, or accident? What of mothers who have inadequate skills, no child care, no support from family, or their child's father?
Meaningful employment, education, job training, intervention programs, financial incentives, a parent's ability to stay at home with their child, and affordable, quality child care assistance these must be the basis of real welfare reform.
Without decent paying jobs for all those able to work, fiscal and monetary policies that promote full-employment, and new, creative employment practices including shorter work weeks, welfare reform and workfare will not provide a better way for children, mothers, and impoverished in our communities. We need to increase spending on education, job training, and child care programs. The Green Party challenges both Democrats and Republicans. Blaming the victim is not the answer. Advancing social justice, children's rights and a "Children's Agenda" is.
Middle-class and poor people are paying an ever greater proportion of federal taxes, and too often local and state taxes are unfair and regressive. The tax code is a labyrinth of deductions, loopholes, exemptions and write-offs; the result of insider- and industry-lobbying that has damaged our economy as it has served the interests of big-business and financial institutions. We call for major TAX REFORM that acts to simplify the tax system. We call for a tax policy that moves to eliminate loopholes and other exemptions that favor powerful interests over TAX JUSTICE.
Small business, in particular, should not be penalized by a tax system which benefits those who can "work" the legislative tax committees for breaks and subsidies. We support reform of the tax system which helps create jobs and innovation within the small business community. Smaller businesses are America's great strength -- Greens believe government should have a tax policy which encourages small- and socially responsible business.
In the private sector, we acknowledge the many challenges responsible SMALL BUSINESS must overcome to remain COMPETITIVE with big business, and we support addressing these obstacles by creating cooperative relationships and effective communication in the workplace.
The concepts of ECONOMIC AND WORKPLACE DEMOCRACY must be expanded in management-labor negotiations because the decisions a company makes affects its employees, its consumers, and the surrounding communities. In order to protect the legitimate interests of these various constituencies, as well as the natural environment, people in each of these groups must be empowered to participate in economic decision-making.
The recent political era of unfairly blaming American workers for the nation's economic problems must end. As Congress looks to overcome the nation's economic problems, there should be no compromise of basic WORKER RIGHTS. We support a fair MINIMUM WAGE; federal legislation to address problems associated with large plant closings; WORKPLACE SAFETY and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reform; and National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) reform.
We particularly support substantive reforms toward "workplace democracy" in large corporations, especially reform that impacts socially and environmentally irresponsible big business. We endorse legal rights to organize and join unions with democratically elected leadership. We encourage the use of mediation as a tool for resolving disputes in the workplace. We support the right to strike without being "permanently replaced"; employee stock ownership plans (ESOP's) with functioning, democratic structures; and cooperative ownership and management. It is evident that big business, transnational and international corporations, must be forcefully compelled to political change by government, workers, labor unions and communities if there is to be meaningful progress toward a broader social and environmental agenda.
In the public sector, Greens are concerned with an employees right to join a union, and associated COLLECTIVE BARGAINING rights. In addition, "good" government demands effective and efficient management, i. e. wisely spending the people's hard-earned tax dollars. We support initiatives between management and labor that produce "better" government through performance, productivity and accountability. We believe government is truly the "people's business" and serious reform proposals, such as "REINVENTING GOVERNMENT" at the federal level and, in New Mexico, the "1994 Task Force Report on Government Efficiency", should be given close attention.
(Approved at the NM State Convention, March 8,1998)
RESOLUTION ON LABOR
Since its founding, the Green Party of New Mexico has stood with organized labor on the front lines, and solicited Green members and other public support for workers' causes in such struggles as the fight for union rights among restaurant workers in Santa Fe, the Leatherback Strike, and the UPS Strike.
Today, people in this country are working harder, for longer hours, and yet have less real income than they did 25 years ago. A full-time worker at minimum wage, supporting a family of three, makes about $3000 below the poverty level. Sweatshop conditions are commonplace among poorer workers, driven by desperation to work under such conditions by the need to feed their families. In addition, the real under- and unemployment rate is over 30%.
Consequently, the Green Party supports:
- Full employment at a livable wage;
- The elimination of the  "Sunset" clause with regards to NM public employees negotiating rights, and the permanent legal recognition of their right to organize and bargain collectively;
- Continuation of the "Little Davis-Bacon Act", which calls for prevailing (union scale) wages to be paid for labor done on public works projects; Expanded health and safety in labor laws, including the strengthening of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) laws and funding OSHA to the level that health and safety inspections happen frequently and the inspectors have laws with the "teeth" to enforce them;
- For unemployed workers on welfare who are being forced into "workfare" jobs to continue receiving assistance, we support their receiving the same prevailing wage as other workers doing similar work;
- The right of workers to organize unions, to bargain collectively, and to strike;
- Efforts to stop employers from imposing "company unions", as the present Republican Congress would allow in their proposed Teamwork Bill;
- The right of organized labor to form a political party; and to endorse, contribute to and work for candidates who would fight for the rights of working people;
- Efforts of organized labor to eliminate so-called "right to work" laws that would limit the rights of unions to organize;
- The right to a "union shop", wherein, if a majority of workers at a workplace are in favor Of a union, every worker at the workplace must pay union dues. Every worker in a shop benefits from the union's efforts, and everyone should support the union accordingly.
A plan to revitalize our economy must be a central element of any overall plan to reduce crime. Fear of violent crime is growing and it is our belief that the breaking of the bonds of community, the economic and social root causes of crime, must be addressed in the same way politicians today propose putting more firepower on the streets; threatening criminals with harsher sentences ("three strikes and you're out"); and building more prisons (although the US currently has a higher incarceration rate than either that of the Soviet Union or South Africa, for example, at their worst).
The "LAW AND ORDER DEBATE" demands a clear and firm response to short-sighted solutions. It is obvious to us that any attempt to combat crime must begin with restoration of community; positive approaches that build hope, responsibility and a sense of belonging. Young men and women must have access to work that pays a family a "living wage". We would initiate social programs that are alternatives to gangs, such as "Gang Intervention Units. " Practical education with a real promise of a future is needed if we are to expect long-term success in this struggle.
We encourage our political leaders to remember that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. "With the costs of maintaining a prisoner far outstripping the costs of educating a child, or the costs of providing job training, or job creation incentives, or providing adequate social services and a "social net" to those in need, we believe it is only appropriate to focus on where our societal intervention can be most successful and effective.
At the same time, we must develop law enforcement approaches that are firm and directly address violence, street crime and hard drug abuse. Violence that creates a climate of further violence must be stopped
We respect the fundamental American principle that law enforcement is primarily local. We support COMMUNITY AND NEIGHBORHOOD POLICING PROGRAMS. Police participation in the local communities they patrol is becoming increasingly popular and helps establish better communication. We recommend establishing CIVILIAN COMPLAINT REVIEW BOARDS and appropriate forums for public input. We believe in a citizen's right to self defense and to bear arms as constitutionally protected -- we also believe it is inappropriate for criminals to have access to "killing machines", that is, assault rifles, automatic weapons, armor-piercing and "anti-personnel" ammunition. Therefore, we will support thoughtful, carefully considered GUN CONTROL.
We endorse PRISON EDUCATION AND JOB TRAINING. We support innovative approaches to rehabilitation, and transitioning of non-violent criminals back into their communities. We do not support, as a matter of conscience, the DEATH PENALTY.
We call for expanding drug counseling and treatment for those who need it. We favor innovative sentencing and punishment options, including community service for first-time offenders.
It is inappropriate to have a de facto policy of leniency to "WHITE COLLAR CRIME. "We believe broad corporate crime legislation should be enacted and enforced. The Savings and Loan scandal which resulted in the loss to the American taxpayer of hundreds of billions of dollars is a case in point of a justice system that has gone astray, breeding cynicism and distrust and a pervasive belief that there is not equality under the law. We support efforts that target the worst cases of corporate (and governmental and defense industry) illegality, and we support resultant sentencing (and fines) that "sends a message" and acts as an effective deterrent.
We support judicial reform in New Mexico that opens up the court system and provides for more efficient administration of justice. We support tough DWI laws. We call for "zero-tolerance" for, and consistent policy of protection against, VIOLENCE IN SCHOOLS.
We endorse federal funding for RAPE CRISIS CENTERS and DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHELTERS. We call for rape and domestic violence prevention and education programs.
VICTIMS RIGHTS' must be guarded and protected. Victim-impact statements are appropriate vehicles for achieving full justice and restitution should be considered in many cases to ensure victims will not be lost in the complexities of criminal justice.
We support initiatives to move toward decriminalization of "victim-less" crimes, for example, the possession of small amounts of marijuana (and we call for a debate on the many productive uses of hemp, for example, as a major potential source of pulp and paper substitute). We oppose the illicit activities of the international drug trade and the illicit money laundering that often accompanies the drug cartels. We oppose the "War on Drugs. "It is a racist, unjust policy that has filled our prisons to overflowing with non-violent offenders and gutted our civil liberties. We acknowledge that, on a per capita basis, the United States now has more black men in prison than South Africa did during Apartheid. We encourage a nationwide and statewide debate on these failed policies.
The foundation of any democratic society is the guarantee that each member of society has equal rights. Respect for our constitutionally protected rights is our best defense against discrimination and the abuse of power. We should treasure and celebrate our people's differences and diversity.
We recognize there is an intimate connection between our RIGHTS as individuals and our RESPONSIBILITIES to our neighbors and the planet. The balance between rights and responsibilities is found as we provide for the maximum participation of everyone in the decisions that affect our well-being, our economic security, our social and international policies.
We, as Greens, are committed to establishing relationships that honor diversity; that support the self-definition and SELF-DETERMINATION of people; and that consciously confront the barriers of racism, sexism, heterosexism, class oppression, ageism, and the many ways our culture separates us from working together to define and solve our common problems.
We affirm the right to openly embrace SEXUAL ORIENTATION in the intimate choice of who we love; and we support the rights of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people in housing, jobs, civil marriage, benefits, child custody; and in all areas of life the right to be treated equally with all other people.
We affirm the right to worship or not to worship as each one chooses.
We support the "EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT"; affirmative action as necessary; and effective enforcement of the "VOTING RIGHTS ACT", including language access to voting. We will resist discriminatory English-only pressure groups. We call for a national language policy that would encourage all citizens to be fluent in at least two languages.
We strongly support the vigorous enforcement of CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS; the aggressive prosecution of hate crimes; the strengthening of legal services for the poor; the full enforcement of the "Americans with Disabilities Act" to enable all people with disabilities to achieve independence and function at the highest possible level. Government should work to ensure that children with disabilities are provided with the same educational opportunities as those without disabilities.
WOMEN'S RIGHTS must be protected and expanded to guarantee each woman's right to be a full participant in society, free from sexual harassment, job discrimination or interference in the intensely personal choice about whether to have a child.
The EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES COMMISSION (EEOC) should actively investigate and prosecute sexual harassment complaints. Women who file complaints must not be persecuted and should be protected under federal and state law. We must enshrine in law the basic principle that women have the same rights as men, and promote gender equality and fairness in the work force to ensure women receive equal pay for jobs of equal worth.
Consumers have the right to adequate enforcement of the federal and state CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS. Health and safety is paramount and we oppose lax, or inappropriate regulatory actions (as in the case of the FDA acting against nutritional supplements). Consumers have the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives and protect their interests beyond simply voting on election day.
We support the creation of a CONSUMER ADVOCACY AGENCY to protect the interests of consumers against the corporate lobbyists who have essentially (and too often successfully) argued against the rights of consumers before the regulatory agencies.
We would require that legal monopolies (for example, electric, gas and telephone utilities) set-up statewide CONSUMER ACTION GROUPS to act on behalf of and advocate for consumer interests.
We call for consumer legislation to outlaw the use of animals in cosmetics and household product testing; in tobacco and alcohol testing; and in weapons development or other military programs.
We call for a series of reforms that are needed to better inform consumers about the products they are buying and about where and how they are made, including stronger "truth in advertising" labels stating where a product was made, and clear definitions of words like "recycled" and "natural".
We call for the restoration of consumers' rights to file class actions suits against manufacturers of unsafe products and restrictions on secrecy agreements that act to prevent lawsuits by not revealing damaging information.
We support a citizen's right of access to justice. Our system of justice must be made convenient to rich and poor alike, guarding it against big business attempts to regulate and, in effect, control our civil justice/civil jury system.
As we look to the foundation of our freedoms, it should be remembered that the Constitution of the United States is not only "the supreme law of the land", it is also the original source of other laws. In Article I, the Constitution spells out the "legislative powers" that are vested in Congress, which ultimately affect the personal and business lives of us all. In the Bill of Rights, the Constitution sets forth the fundamental rights and freedoms of all people, rights and freedoms that cannot be denied or abridged by Congress, or by any other branch or level of government.
An informed electorate is critical to good government. The scope of the First Amendment is extensive and prohibits any law which would abridge the freedom of speech, or of the press, most clearly in reference to political matters. Our legal right to criticize government is essential to the effective working of democracy. We support openness in government, not secrecy, and endorse the "FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT" (FOIA) as a way of guaranteeing access to government decision-making.
We recognize that access to information has profound consequences to our democracy, and we have concerns regarding the concentration of information in the hands of fewer and fewer corporations. The FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (FCC) must promulgate telecommunications policies that assure the First Amendment rights of viewers and listeners. New and existing technologies must provide outlets for scientific and cultural expression and enhance the electoral process. We support the development of policies which will make modern information technologies available to all Americans, including the poor and minorities.
The concentration of power that has characterized the telecommunications industry must be limited and a wide span of information should be made available that provides for genuine citizen access, diversity, respect for local communities, and quality news and public affairs programming. We oppose censorship in the arts, and encourage individual and social responsibility by artists.
Native American culture is worthy of protection and special respect. As Greens we feel a special affinity to the respect for community and the earth that many Native peoples have at their roots.
We recognize both the SOVEREIGNTY of Native American tribal governments and the government's trust obligation to Native American people. In this regard, the federal government must renew its obligation to deal in good faith with Native Americans; to honor its treaty obligations; adequately fund programs for the betterment of tribal governments and their people; affirm the RELIGIOUS RIGHTS of Native Americans in ceremonies ("American Indian Religious Freedom Act"); provide funds for innovative economic development initiatives, EDUCATION and public HEALTH PROGRAMS; and respect land, water and mineral rights within the borders of reservations and traditional lands. We support those efforts to broadly reform the BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS (BIA) to make this vast agency more responsible, and responsive, to tribal governments.
In New Mexico, Native peoples should be encouraged to develop ECONOMIC RELATIONSHIPS with state government, and the private sector, that lead to economic independence. We believe the State of New Mexico must redress the share of TAX RECEIPTS allocated tribal governments for extractive resources developed on their lands.
Although we do not support the shipment to and storage of toxic or nuclear waste in New Mexico (which has been proposed by some Native American leaders), whether on reservations, state, federal or private land, we do not oppose ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, which includes regulated gambling. The rights of Native Americans in this regard have been recently extended by Congress, and it is the obligation of New Mexican political leadership to work in association with the wishes of tribal governments.
We support the just settlement of the claims of the thousands of Native American URANIUM MINERS who have suffered and died from radiation exposure. We condemn the stance of secrecy taken by the Atomic Energy Commission during this era and its subsequent claim of "government immunity", taken knowingly (and immorally) at the expense of Native peoples' health and safety. Regarding those who "looked the other way" under the guise of "national security", we recall the "Nuremberg Code", which was drawn up during the prosecution of World War II war criminals and states that it is a crime to expose people without their consent or knowledge to health hazards whose outcome may produce deaths or life-shortening illnesses.
We should not forget the lessons of the nuclear arms race and we support the complete clean-up of those mines and tailing piles along the Colorado plateau that are a profoundly destructive legacy of the Cold War era.
We recognize that Native American land and treaty rights often stand at the front-line against government and multinational corporate attempts to plunder energy, mineral, timber, fish, and game resources, polluting water, air, and land in the service of the military, economic expansion, and the consumption of natural resources. Therefore, we support legal, political, and grassroots efforts by and on behalf of Native Americans to protect their traditions, rights, livelihoods, and their sacred spaces.
Our nation was built with a rich tapestry of immigrants and we must continue to respect the potential contributions and RIGHTS of our new immigrants. Preferential quotas based on race, class, and ideology should be abandoned for immigration policies that promote fairness, NON-DISCRIMINATION and family reunification. We support policies that reflect our constitutional guarantees of freedoms of speech, association and travel. We find particular attention should be given those minorities who are political exiles and refugees, including Russian Jews, mid-east Kurds, Tibetans and Haitians.
In New Mexico, our relationship with our neighbor to the south, Mexico, need to be given added attention. Our border relations, and reciprocal economic opportunities, should be a central concern of a New Mexican government that is looking to improved economic, environmental and social conditions for both peoples.
We oppose those who seek to divide us for political gain by raising ethnic and racial hatreds, blaming immigrants for social and economic problems.
Decent, AFFORDABLE HOUSING for every American must be a component of a campaign at the federal, state and local level.
We hold that government should play an activist role in the availability of housing. A COORDINATED HOUSING PLAN that is broad-based should devote resources to non-profit community housing projects, private sector investments and appropriate public housing initiatives that encourage individual ownership over time. Pension funds and community development banks can be targeted and can become important sources of new funding. Subsidies, trade-offs with developers, and the creative use of city and county zoning ordinances should be emphasized to increase the affordable housing stock available within local communities depending on need.
We must create new opportunities for citizens to serve their communities. ALTERNATIVE SERVICE to the military should be encouraged. For example, a CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS (CCC) with national leadership, and state and local affiliates, could spearhead efforts to work on the tasks of environmental education, restoration of damaged habitats, reforestation, and cleaning up polluted waterways. Providing land and resource management skills will challenge young people while encouraging social responsibility.
If we do not alter our energy use soon and drastically, the ecological crisis may be exacerbated past a point where it can be resolved. A comprehensive energy policy must be a critical element of our environmental thinking. Investing in ENERGY EFFICIENCY and RENEWABLE ENERGY is key to sustainability.
We call for the development of a STATE ENERGY POLICY in New Mexico that includes a tax/fine on energy waste and the funding of energy research, including credits for alternative and sustainable energy use such as solar, wind, hydrogen and biomass. We encourage the creation and design of human environments that are as energy-efficient as possible. We support the phasing out of the most ecologically harmful sources of energy.
We urge that new construction be required by the year 2000 to achieve one-quarter to one-half its heating energy from the sun. Where solar technology cannot be used exceptions, where feasible, may be granted. Utilities and citizens should establish SOLAR POWER STATIONS to augment and eventually supplant fossil-fuel generated electricity (recent breakthroughs have made central solar power cost-effective).
"TRUE-COST PRICING" which would reflect the environmental cost of products, including ecological damage and externalities caused during the manufacturing process, must be adopted to achieve accurate financial accounting.
We call for cancellation of the WASTE ISOLATION PILOT PROJECT (WIPP) in southern New Mexico. We oppose the importation of high-level nuclear waste (e. g. , spent fuel rods) to New Mexico as part of the MONITORED RETRIEVABLE STORAGE (MRS) program. We believe environmentally sound alternatives to MRS and underground storage can be developed and we oppose the transport of this waste until such alternatives are found. In the meantime, we call for permanent above-ground, continuously monitored storage of nuclear waste at or near the sites where it is generated.
It is evident that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with its goal of promoting nuclear energy (most recently via so-called "fast track licensing" designed to avoid community opposition) should be replaced with a nuclear decommissioning board charged with the phase-out of nuclear power. The import and export of nuclear and toxic wastes should be banned and a heavy fine imposed for violators. We call for independent, public-access radiation monitoring at all commercial and military nuclear facilities. We support applicable environmental impact statements (EIS) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis with citizen participation at all nuclear sites. We support an immediate and intensive CAMPAIGN TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC about New Mexico's nuclear hot spots.
Legal requirement for businesses applying for zoning permits should be formulated that require disclosure of toxics which may be used and past violations regarding the use of hazardous material -- this similar to the city of Rio Rancho's ordinance. Those responsible for toxic waste dumping, spills, and contamination on or off their sites should be responsible for all costs of complete clean-up. In addition, we call for levying sizable fines on those found guilty of violating such standards.
Waste management is a critical challenge to the survival of the modern world. Real reductions in per capita consumption of materials, and significant increases in the efficiency with which materials are used, is a problem that must be faced sooner rather than later. We support RECYCLING at every level of the economy. We endorse SOURCE REDUCTION and municipal programs that particularly focus on household recycling. We call for a BOTTLE BILL in New Mexico similar to the one in Oregon.
We oppose INCINERATION of municipal solid waste, sewage, non-biological medical waste, and toxic waste. We support a moratorium on any new incinerators that burn such materials and a rapid shutdown of existing incinerators that do so.
We oppose shipping of toxic wastes across national borders, and the SHIPMENT OF TOXIC/HAZARDOUS OR RADIOACTIVE WASTES, without regulation, across any political borders. We oppose the exportation, under any circumstances, of chemicals that are prohibited in the United States. We directly oppose turning New Mexico into a repository for other state's solid waste, as has been proposed by those who care little about the state's future.
We endorse the strategy of grassroots groups (such as Corrales Citizens for Clean Air and Water) which are using "Good Neighbor Agreements" as a tool to force local polluting facilities (like Intel) to eliminate or reduce TOXIC EMISSIONS and to empower citizens to inspect and monitor industrial sites. We are especially concerned in the case of Intel about the magnitude of their projected water needs and the potential impact on the regional aquifer. It will be an ongoing concern of ours to work with concerned citizens regarding Intel's impact on the Albuquerque area.
We are aware of the environmental hazards that accompany the use of fossil fuels and of their non-sustainability and eventual depletion. We call for TRANSITION ENERGY STRATEGIES, including the use of relatively clean-burning natural gas, as a way to reorder our energy priorities and over-reliance on tradition fuels.
We call for a gradual phase-out of gasoline and other fossil fuels. Until gasoline driven cars can be replaced, we advocate a FUEL EFFICIENCY standard, a "gas guzzler" tax on new low mileage vehicles, and a "gas sipper" rebate on high mileage vehicles. We advocate fair "buybacks" of the most polluting and least efficient vehicles to remove these vehicles from the road.
We oppose further development of our nation's outer continental shelf for oil drilling or exploration. We acknowledge the relative benefits that can be achieved in the production of and use of our state's NATURAL GAS. New Mexico's proven natural gas reserves are abundant (fourth in the nation) and should be carefully developed.
Public ownership and/or strong public regulation of UTILITIES should be encouraged to advance energy efficient policies. Appropriate tax-exempt bonds should be authorized to finance public ownership in utilities. Tax-exempt bonds should be authorized to allow publicly owned utilities to finance conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy projects.
Overall, it is essential in the long-term that ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SYSTEMS be put in place that produce goods that are durable, repairable, reusable, recyclable, and energy-efficient, using both non-toxic materials and nonpolluting production methods. We call on regulatory agencies to include life-cycle considerations in their standard-setting process for product approval. We further call for citizen participation in this process.
Ultimately, environmentally destructive technologies, processes, and products should be replaced with alternatives that are environmentally benign. Producers/manufacturers must look to redesigning their products. Legislation that will assist this transition (including bans, taxation, recycled content standardsand economic incentives/disincentives such as taxation, special fees, and/or deposits) will be required in a any concerted move toward system-wide sustainability.
We encourage providing a broad range of incentives for alternative transportation, including natural gas vehicles, mass transit and electric vehicles. In the short-term, we believe that increases in GAS TAXES are inappropriate for New Mexico until there are sufficient and adequate transportation alternatives.
We support active development of: MASS TRANSIT (including A REGIONAL RAIL SYSTEM which would initially connect Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and eventually Denver/Las Cruces/and Mexico); NATURAL GAS CONVERSIONS of state and fleet vehicles, bus and truck conversions, and the setting up of additional refill stations; and innovative solar and electric-powered ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION. We support Sandia Labs efforts to develop inexpensive, efficient solar cells/chips/panels via "industrial grade" silicon and other advanced materials. We fully endorse moving Sandia and Los Alamos toward more energy and transportation RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, and are especially interested in the "Advanced Battery Consortium" which is working to create breakthrough battery technology which would enable electric cars to become energy efficient and competitive.
In a state as beautiful and wide-open as New Mexico, all major streets and highways should have bicycle lanes.
It is said that US industries emit over 20% of greenhouse gases globally. As a nation, we must implement public and private initiatives at every level to support the "GLOBAL CLIMATE TREATY" signed at the "Earth Summit" in 1992, committing industrial nations within a time framework to reducing emissions to 1990 levels.
The earth's atmosphere, according to informed scientific opinion, is in great danger due to man-made chemicals and hydrocarbon emissions. Chloro-fluorocarbons (CFC'S), hydrochloro-fluorocarbons, and other related ozone-depleting substances should be banned as soon as is possible. GREENHOUSE GASES and the threat of GLOBAL WARMING must be addressed by the international community in concert, through international treaties and conventions, with the industrial nations at the forefront of this vital effort.
Greens look to the future and support "conservative" conservation practices as well as "liberal" approaches and programs, both having a place as long as good land stewardship is in evidence. We take a BIOREGIONAL VIEW of the ecosystem, acknowledging political boundaries while noting that the land, air and water, the interconnected biosphere, is a unique and precious "community", deserving careful consideration and protection. We encourage social ownership and use of land at the community, local, and regional level, particularly in the form of community and conservation LAND TRUSTS, under covenants of ecological responsibility.
Appropriate land-use PLANNING should serve to prevent activities that adversely affect adjacent lands (for example, mining and oil operations cannot be allowed to cause water pollution -- and timber cutting cannot be allowed to cause severe soil erosion). We call for repeal of the "Mining Act of 1872" and a halt to federal mineral and resource give-aways.
We believe special attention must be given to restoration and protection of RIPARIAN AREAS, which are critical habitats in our state. We call for strict CLEAN-UP ENFORCEMENT of industrial activities, for example, of tailings from mining operations via agreements with companies that can include posting of a site-restoration bond prior to commencement of operations.
We call for a halt to all current international funding policies that promote destruction of forest ecosystems and we call for an end to the trade in endangered hardwoods.
We support laws that promote paper recycling and mandate SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY practices. We urge protection of "old growth" forests, careful restrictions of commercial cutting on federal and state lands, a ban on all clearcutting, and a reduction of road building on public lands. The Green Party supports second-growth logging in local, rural economies, emphasizing value-added enterprises. We support restoration of degraded forest ecosystems through the development of such enterprises. We are sensitive to the needs of local and rural communities and do not endorse overly restrictive or punitive restrictions on local logging.
We advocate raising grazing fees on public land to approximate fair market value and encourage GRAZING REFORM that brings together traditional users and concerned local citizens in new working relationships. We support policies that favor small-scale ranchers over corporate operations (which are often used as tax write-offs, a practice which undermines family ranches. Eliminating large corporate allotments will ensure more sustainable levels of grazing, benefiting the land and community.
Effective land and resource management practices must be founded on stewardship, such as incorporated in a "LAND ETHIC" as articulated by one of New Mexico's great voices, Aldo Leopold. Additional public involvement via active and well-funded RESOURCE MANAGEMENT DISTRICTS and COUNCILS will aid this long-term process on the use of federal and state trust lands (which are currently controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forest Service, National Park Service, and State Land Office).
We urge the New Mexico STATE LAND OFFICE to look at a future of diminished returns on extractive resources and begin to plan now for the appropriate protection and productive use of state lands, particularly those surrounding urban areas.
We support the current ban on Animal Damage Control (ADC), the federal agency that has been killing wildlife indiscriminately in the West since 1931. We urge a comprehensive, base-line mapping of our state's biodiversity resources; a consideration of "wildlife ranching" and policies that desirably increase our native big-game populations; the implementation of extensive soil erosion control programs; and that special attention be given to the Constitutional Commission formed by the New Mexico Legislature to rewrite the state constitution, particularly as it affects the future mission and powers of the Land Office.
We support the resolution of unsettled Native American and Hispanic land claims and believe the federal government should abide by the "Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo" with respect to common land grants and water rights, and treaty adjudication should include land exchanges as necessary and/or appropriate.
However, we oppose attempts to privatize public lands in New Mexico. Such measures would represent a giveaway to private and corporate interests of a treasure presently held in common by all.
We favor community involvement in the management of Federal and State natural and economic resources. Privatization is too often the opposite of this value, in that it places management in the hands of a few individuals. Frequently, these are distant corporations which do not share the long-term concerns of local residents and view privatized lands as a resource to be exploited for short-term gain.
Current efforts to transfer Federal land to states and counties are often a smokescreen for privatization.
As a semi-arid and arid bioregion, New Mexico must look ahead and plan for future water uses, as well as today's needs. Who can disagree that clean and sufficient water resources will determine what kind of future we have?With the longer term in mind, we call for elimination of wasteful subsidies on the use of water in agriculture and for municipal water rates to be set high enough, or that other INCENTIVES and/or DISINCENTIVES be set in place, to discourage the wasteful use of water.
According to a recent study by the US Geological Survey, the Albuquerque/ Bernalillo County area is using groundwater four times faster than it is being replenished. More than 200 groundwater contamination sites have been identified and the Rio Grande's water standards have been challenged successfully by the Isleta Pueblo. A "Groundwater Action and Policy Plan" should be developed by the City/County, which would serve as a model (and focus) for New Mexico state efforts (A "State Water Plan") to protect the water supply. We propose that a "WATER QUALITY BOARD" (similar to City/County "Air Quality Board") be immediately formed and empowered.
Given the profound importance of water in our region, we support the establishment of national, state, and local GROUNDWATER PROTECTION agencies with authority to establish standards for the use of water; to provide tough and timely enforcement of laws enacted; and to protect our aquifers from overuse, depletion and contamination.
We endorse alternative solutions to water treatment and clean-up, for example CONSTRUCTED WETLANDS. We support the rights and preservation of ACEQUIAS, recognizing that traditional uses should be guarded against expropriation and acequia water banking. Acequia water should be tied to the land. We acknowledge Native American rights regarding water, and urge fair and equitable solutions on the part of the courts and State Engineer regarding the pending, precedent-setting questions before them.
The human species is at the top of the food chain and is, therefore, very vulnerable to the degrading of the environment and the loss of species. If for no other reason than our own preservation, we should work to protect our environment and the diversity of our region's and planet's rich life forms.
We call for the establishment of an ecologically based sustainable agricultural system that moves as rapidly as possible towards regional/bioregional self reliance. An adequate FOOD SUPPLY is tied to many of our nation's export, foreign aid, geopolitical and related overseas goals. We support assistance to foreign countries and their people that moves them toward SELF-SUFFICIENCY and sustainability in food production, not reliance on subsidized import of First World agricultural products. WORLD HUNGER can be best addressed by FOOD SUPPLY INDEPENDENCE, and that the population growth accompanying deprivation, which has led to more poverty and environmental destruction in the Third World, can be replaced by a decent standard of living and population control.
We call for phasing out the use of man-made pesticides and artificial fertilizers, and funding for research to find acceptable alternatives. We support "Integrated Pest Management" techniques, as an alternative to current chemical-based agriculture, and we endorse substantive reforms in the multi-year 1996 FARM BILL, which neglected "transitional" farming , to push American agriculture toward SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES.
We support "organic certification standards", as adopted by New Mexico in 1991 in the "NEW MEXICO ORGANIC COMMODITY ACT", and support the NM Department of Agriculture's efforts to broaden this effort by reaching out to and identifying growers and buyers of organic produce. We support the "NEW MEXICO'S OWN" marketing program. We encourage "FARM TRAILS" maps be developed by the Department of Tourism to bring our state's large tourist population directly to farms which are growing traditional crops and selling organically produced products. We strongly support a coordinated public-private partnership between New Mexico agricultural sector and government to take advantage of our unique history and potential in agricultural areas.
We call for a reconsideration of the potentially far-reaching and unforeseen effects of seed and plant hybridization and especially of genetic engineering in agricultural systems. We are particularly concerned about loss of and increasing threat posed to plant diversity, which must be saved, maintained and enhanced if we are to have an authentic ALTERNATIVE GREEN REVOLUTION, based on diversity, sustainable agriculture and local self-empowerment.
We generally oppose the patenting of life forms, including gene-splicing techniques, and call for a moratorium on agricultural genetic engineering while an evaluation of its effects on ecological and social sustainability is carried out. The implications of a corporate takeover, and resulting monopolization of genetic "intellectual property" by the bioengineering industry, are immense. With the recent introduction of the world's first genetically engineered (and duly patented) tomato, we need to reexamine our government's oversight of this untested, unproved field.
We advocate REGIONALIZING our food system and decentralizing agricultural lands, production, and distribution. We support research, within the public and private arenas, including educational institutions, for sustainable, organic, and ecologically balanced agriculture.
Ecological systems are diverse and interlocking, and nature's survival strategy can best be found in the adaptability that comes as a result of biological diversity. Although many people may think first of tropical rain forests in reference to the richness of (and threat to) biological diversity, we believe that diversity close to home is worthy of saving, as are the myriad species within the rain forest and its teeming canopy. The Green Party supports, in keeping with this understanding, the reauthorization of a strong "Endangered Species Act" based on the principles of conservation biology.
We look to the "CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY", first adopted at the "Earth Summit" in 1992, as a primary statement of purpose regarding how we can act to preserve and sustain our common genetic resources. Greens emphasize conservation of "natural" populations and ecosystems, and we seriously question the demands of the US to amend this unprecedented international agreement on behalf of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, with their insistence upon protection of their "intellectual property" and technology transfer rights. Within these demands are inconsistencies which can threaten the Convention's overall goals.
We encourage support of and public access to seed banks and seed collections that emphasize "DEEP DIVERSITY", particularly through traditional and heirloom seeds. We call for wide-spread education on the critical importance of efforts being made (including "backyard biodiversity" gardening) to replant indigenous plant life where it has dwindled or been lost.
Corporate agribusiness is founded on F-1 hybrid seeds, proprietary products that cannot be saved season-to-season and have to be bought from the company store at each new planting. We discourage the production of high-tech, hybrid seeds, the basis of the evolving industry of "MONOCULTURE" agriculture -- i. e. , agribusiness which relies on NON-SUSTAINABLE METHODS (single crop varieties bred with industrial traits, and grown with high energy, chemical and pesticide inputs).
We know that agriculture and food comprise the world's largest economic market. We find it of great concern that the practices of corporate agribusiness are leading, as scientists are beginning to point out, to diminishing yields; increasing petro-chemical fertilizer and pesticide costs; serious top-soil loss; non-point, run-off pollution of waterways and aquifers; and the return of resistant pests and blights requiring ever-larger doses of pesticides/herbicides/fungicides/ and miticides.
Monocultures have also led to a massive loss of biodiversity as they have displaced traditional varieties and seed stocks. We encourage the use of diverse natural varieties, those passed down over many generations, called "open-pollinates" because they can be grown out, the best plants' seeds being saved season-to-season. In practice, we support this as the basis of an "Alternative Green Revolution", sustainable agriculture that is closely connected to the environment, and not dependent on outside companies and their industrial monopolies.
We oppose international trade agreements (GATT and NAFTA in particular) which have precedent-setting provisions protecting transnational, corporate control of the "INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY" of their genes, hybrid seeds and proprietary products. Greens call for a move away from corporate control of agriculture (and the resultant extinction of traditional plant varieties) and instead envision a healthy and sustainable food system, based on crop diversity, community empowerment, cooperative marketing, recycling, seed saving, local (and fresh) production, and organic methods.
The struggle over the production and quality of our food supply is critical and has yet to be determined. The outcome of this struggle will have an intimate connection to our personal health and the future biological diversity of our environment. We believe strongly that we must work to bring this message to the people of New Mexico and in every community throughout the world.
We can learn from indigenous people who believe that the earth and its natural systems are to be respected and cared for in accordance with ecological principles. Concepts of ownership should be employed in the context of stewardship, and social and ecological responsibility. We support environmental and social responsibility in all businesses, whether privately or publicly owned.
To create an enduring society, we must devise a system of production and commerce where every act is sustainable and restorative. We believe that all business has a social contract with society and the environment (in effect a "fiduciary responsibility"), and that "socially responsible business" is the model of truly successful business. We call for an economic system that is based on a combination of private businesses, decentralized democratic cooperatives, publicly owned enterprises, and alternative economic structures, all of which put human and ecological needs alongside profits to measure success, and are accountable to the communities in which they function.
Greens support a major redesign of commerce. We support production that eliminates waste. In natural systems, everything is a meal for something else. Everything recycles, there is no "waste". We need to mimic natural systems in the way we manufacture and produce things. "Consumables" need to be designed to be thrown into a compost heap and/or eaten, for example. "Durable goods" would be designed in closed-loop systems, ultimately to be disassembled and reassembled. "Toxics" would be safeguarded and could have "markers" identifying them as belonging, in perpetuity, to their makers.
We need to remake commerce to encourage diversity and variety, responding to the enormous complexity of global and local conditions. Big business is not about appropriateness and adaptability, but about power and market control. Greens support small business and economic cooperation. We argue that economic diversity is more responsive to the needs of a diverse human population, and to sustaining our long-term survival.
Currently, corporations posses rights no human beings do. Namely, they are seldom held liable for the personal or environmental harm they cause. We support reforms that hold the executives of a corporation directly liable for the harm resulting from their decisions.
When we look at the HISTORY OF our states, we learn that citizens intentionally defined CORPORATIONS through charters -- the certificates of incorporation. In exchange for the charter, a corporation was obligated to obey all laws, to serve the common good, and to cause no harm. Early state legislators wrote charter laws to limit corporate authority, and to ensure that when a corporation caused harm, they could revoke its charter.
In the late 19th century, however, corporations claimed special protections under the Constitution. Large companies used legal power to assert legal authority over what to make and how to make it, to move money, influence elections, bend governments to their will. They insisted that once formed, corporations may operate forever, with the privilege of limited liability and freedom from community or worker interference in business judgments.
It is inappropriate for the investment and production decisions that shape our communities and lives to be made essentially in boardrooms, regulatory agencies and courtrooms.
We call for revisiting what one Supreme Court Justice called, when referring to the history of constitutional law, "the history of the impact of the modern corporation upon the American scene. "We believe that corporations are neither inevitable nor always appropriate. Judicial and legislative decisions that have made it possible for big business to stay beyond the reach of democracy need to be reexamined.
Legal doctrines must be continually seen in light of the changing needs of society. Huge transnational corporations are artificial creations, not natural persons uniquely sheltered under Constitutional protections. It is time to look at STATUTES and PRECEDENTS to HOLD CORPORATIONS ACCOUNTABLE, even to the point of revoking charters. One point remains unequivocal -- because corporations have become the dominant economic institution of the planet, they must address and squarely face the social and environmental problems that afflict humankind.
We affirm the right to a "livable income. "Job banks should be established in innovative public-private partnerships so that people who are unable to find decent work in the private sector can take publicly funded work.
We urge that a national debate be held with the goal of defining our nation's economic strategies in trade, minimum wage laws, and social investments based on a clear "LIVING WAGE" standard.
The Green Party supports the establishment of a "livable" global base wage, that would create a worldwide floor for wages in those countries involved in trade with the U. S. , and will work with the U. S. and international trade union movement to establish such a wage.
Reforms to allow communities to have influence in their ECONOMIC FUTURE should be implemented including support of locally owned small businesses, which are more accessible to community concerns; support of local production and consumption where possible; support of consumer co-ops, credit unions, incubators, microloan funds, local "currencies", and other institutions that help communities develop economic projects; to allow municipalities to approve or disapprove large economic projects case-by-case based on environmental impacts, local ownership, community reinvestment, wage levels, working conditions; and to allow communities to set environmental, human rights, health and safety standards higher than federal or state minimums.
We support a national program of INVESTING in our Commons; to rebuild the infrastructure of communities; to repair and improve transportation lines between cities; and to protect and restore the environment.
We endorse DIRECT DEMOCRACY through TOWN MEETINGS, which express a community's wishes on economic decision-making directly to local institutions and organizations.
Greens support an economic program that combats concentration and abuse of economic power. We support many different initiatives for forming successful, small enterprises that together can become an engine (and sustainable model) of job creation, prosperity and progress.
Our goal is to go beyond the dedicated good work being done by many companies (which is often referred to as "SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS" or "VALUE-DRIVEN BUSINESS") and to present new ways of seeing how business can help create a sustainable world, all the while surviving in a competitive business climate.
We believe that conservation should be "profitable" and employment should be creative, meaningful and stable.
ACCESS TO CAPITAL is often an essential need in "growing" a business. There should be a comprehensive set of approaches to making loans available to small business at rates competitive to those offered big business. Financial institutions unfairly favor large corporations and the wealthy when determining how to "work" their loan portfolios. Government needs to reform current lending practices. We support "disclosure laws", "anti-redlining laws" and a general openness on the part of the private sector as to what criteria are used in making lending decisions. As lending institutions have obligations to the health of their local communities, we oppose arbitrary, or discriminatory practices which act to deny small business access to credit and expansion capital. We oppose "disinvestment" practices, in which lending and financial institutions move money deposited in local communities out of those same communities, in effect often damaging the best interests of their customers and community.
The present tax system acts to discourage small business, as it encourages waste, discourages conservation, and rewards consumption. Big business has used insider access to dominate the federal tax code. The New Mexico state tax code does little to redress the imbalance.
The TAX SYSTEM needs a major OVERHAUL, to get it up and running in a way that favors the legitimate and critical needs of the small business community. RETENTION OF CAPITAL, through retained earnings, efficiencies, and savings, is central to small business remaining competitive and tax policies often act to unfairly penalize small business. The New Mexico legislature needs to pay careful attention to tax reform that encourages small business growth.
Government should reduce wherever possible unnecessary restrictions, fees, and "red-tape". State and local government should encourage where appropriate those business that especially benefit the community. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES should include citizen and community input. What type and size of the businesses that are provided incentives (tax, loans, bonds, etc. ) should be the result of local community participation.
Gross-receipt taxes on services, food and pharmaceuticals needs to reexamined, as does WORKER'S COMPENSATION INSURANCE. Insurance costs need to be brought down by means of active state engagement with the insurance industry. Insurance pools, for example, of the kind offered businesses in the association, "Business for Social Responsibility", need to be expanded. Our state's service sector should be considered for its growth potential, and educational programs and training should be particularly encouraged in these areas. "One-stop" offices should be set-up by government to assist individuals who want to change careers, or go into business for the first time. HOME-BASED BUSINESSES AND NEIGHBORHOOD-BASED BUSINESSES need to be assisted by forward-looking planning, not hurt by out-of-date zoning ordinances. New Mexico's "ANTI-DONATION CLAUSE" should be rewritten and contributions permitted for local SMALL BUSINESS LOAN FUNDS, as an example.
Artisans, craftspeople and cottage industries are a great resource in New Mexican culture. Policies should be put in place to coordinate state, community and education efforts to support the continuation of these special contributors to our art, heritage and, of course, to the ongoing position of TOURISM in New Mexico's economy.
We reject trade agreements negotiated in secret and unduly influenced by corporate attorneys and representatives. In particular, we oppose the GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE (GATT) and current NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (NAFTA). Both are threats to the constitutional power of Congress and local sovereignty, and they effectively limit the participation of citizens in decisions. Instead, they create administrative bureaucracies which will be run by corporate interests and, in many ways, will be unaccountable to public input or even legal challenge.
We demand that these agreements be reexamined and revised to include more specific environmental, worker, health and safety standards in the text itself, not as "side agreements. "
We reject any agreement which threatens the authority of states and local communities to establish more stringent health, safety and environmental standards. We reject agreements that negotiate downward our basic environmental, human rights, health, safety and labor standards, including the right to bargain collectively, a reasonable minimum wage, and prohibitions against child and forced labor. The historic role of the United States has been to raise living standards, not to be dragged down by the lowest common denominator abroad.
Economic development in rural areas spans many agencies of government, but eventually comes back to prospering, healthy farms and ranch lands. Recreation, local business, schools and education, health care and energy availability; all are necessary to support a diversified, successful rural economy.
RURAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY should begin with the local people. FAMILY FARMS are the backbone of a sustainable rural economy. They are more likely than corporate agribusiness to follow ecological practices that enrich the land, use labor-intensive rather than energy-intensive farming methods, and support biodiversity. Because of their smaller scale production methods, they are more likely to produce food products that are more healthy for consumers. Federal, state and local governments should provide financial assistance to small farmers to help them compete against agribusiness.
Price-fixing and anti-competitive actions of the corporate agricultural giants, must be confronted aggressively. Programs must be implemented by the federal and state government that add value to the production from family farms to help them remain competitive. Government should encourage BANK POLICIES that spread their loan portfolios beyond corporate agriculture and ranching, and the big, subsidized grazing permit holders, in order to diversify local economies.
We support COOPERATIVE VENTURES to broaden the markets of local producers, for example, the apple storage/refrigerated warehouse coop near Velarde in Northern New Mexico that will allow Rio Grande apples to be sold competitively for the first time year round, not just during harvest season.
We encourage state-assisted PRODUCT MARKETING EFFORTS (like "New Mexico's Own"), rural development banks, and enterprise zone programs. We call for policies that conserve our soil; that protect the minority farmer, the weaver, herder, the small rancher, the migrant worker, the Native American; policies that promote "fair" international trade, particularly with Mexico, of agricultural commodities and livestock; policies that act to repair the injusticesof water rights which have been wrongfully taken or lost.
We support a broad program of reform in the banking and savings and loan industry that acts to ensure that their "COMMONWEALTH" obligations to serve all communities are met.
We understand that the present system is skewed to service first and foremost large businesses, trans-national corporations and wealthy individuals. Since lending institutions are chartered by the state to serve the best interests of communities, the privileges that come with being given power at the center of commerce carry special responsibilities.
The government should take serious steps to ensure that low- and moderate-income persons and communities, as well as small business, have access to banking services, affordable loans and small-business supporting capital.
We support the extension of the "COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT" and its key performance data provisions regarding providing public and timely information on the extent of housing loans, small business loans, loans to minority-owned enterprises, investments in community development projects and affordable housing.
We believe Congress should act to charter COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BANKS, which would be capitalized with public funds and work to meetthe credit needs of local communities.
We endorse wide ranging INSURANCE INDUSTRY REGULATION to reduce insurance costs by reducing its special-interest breaks, over-pricing, and excessive industry-wide practices. We call for actions at the federal and state level to rein in "bad faith" actions; legal avoidance of obligations, the current widespread practice of fixing prices, the ability of insurance companies to reject applicants or cancel policies for any reason.
Working people, who own more than $3 trillion in pension monies (deferred wages in effect), should have financial options for where their money is invested apart from the current near-monopoly exerted by a handful of banks, insurance companies and mutual funds. We do not believe the over-use of pension funds for corporate mergers, acquisitions and leveraged buy-outs is appropriate or productive. Yet, the current system has allowed vast amounts of American workers' hard-earned money to be squandered on job-ending, plant-moving corporate endgames and "golden parachutes".
PENSION FUNDS are gigantic capital pools that can, with government support, be used to help meet community needs and benefit workers and their families directly. Corporate-sponsored pension funds (the biggest category of funds) should be jointly controlled by management and workers, not exclusively ruled by management. Federal law must be changed so that pension funds need simply seek a reasonable rate of return, not the prevailing market rate which greatly restricts where investments can be made. A secondary pension market set up by the government, to insure pension investments made in socially beneficial programs, needs to be considered as one method that could greatly expand the impact of this capital market, as has been demonstrated in the case of federally insured/subsidized mortgage lending.
"Prudent" pension fund investing can and should be made on behalf of those whose best interests are served by having their money both make money and do good work. We believe there are myriad opportunities for this profound shift to occur in how the capital of America's workers is best put to use.
We support strong and effectively enforced ANTI-TRUST REGULATION, to counteract the concentration of economic power with its severe toll on the economy. We oppose the largesse of government in the form of narrow corporate entitlements. We should stop the give-aways and subsidies of our vast public resources, including millions of acres of land, mineral resources, intellectual property rights, and government created research. The "Mining Actof 1872" and below-cost timber sales are prime examples of corporate welfare that need to be halted immediately.
The conversion of defense-related technologies to a peacetime technology-based economy is a major challenge for New Mexico's two Department of Energy labs, Sandia and Los Alamos. In addition, of the approximately 3,300 businesses along the Rio Grande corridor engaged in manufacturing, some 1,500 are suppliers to the defense industry. New Mexico has one of the highest per-capita federal spending levels in the nation and our reliance on our nation's defense-related spending has had an acute impact on the state's economy, one which continues today. We must ask ourselves what we are to make of this defense-related inheritance in the face of the winding down of "national security" spending?
We emphatically oppose Los Alamos National Lab taking over the bomb-making functions of the nuclear weapons complex due to the shut-down of the Rocky Flats facility. Any CONSOLIDATION of the nuclear weapons complex should move toward alternative civilian technologies and non-proliferation work, not toward a new generationof nuclear weapon design and production.
Our nation's defense budget must be cut and our national priorities brought into line with peaceful purposes. Until there is significant movement toward a "peace dividend", we cannot support any "Spaceport" concept in southern New Mexico that is not environmentally sound and for demilitarized purposes.
We generally support defense TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER efforts, particularly new INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS in the areas of waste management and alternative energy. New Mexico can become a leader in these fields if a joint statewide approach is pursued by our Governor, legislature and through our Congressional delegation with the Departments of Energy and Defense. We urge our representatives to carefully consider the options and weigh the consequences. New Mexico should consciously and conscientiously turn the corner and create a future separate from our nuclear weapons legacy; not another round of nuclear weapons, mini-nukes, tiny-nukes, and strategic delivery systems.
To be the birthplace of the Bomb is a grave responsibility. Einstein recognized this, most ominously, when he said in 1945 that everything changed with Hiroshima except the mind of man.
It is time to speak truth to power regarding our nuclear weapons legacy. No more.
Let us go forward with government and civilian space programs; RESEARCH INITIATIVES in transportation, waste management and manufacturing; industrial applications and technology transfer; environmental sampling and monitoring; systems testing; laser communications; high speed computers; genetic mapping (with resultsin the "public domain").
The opportunities for technical excellence and continued economic achievement apart from strategic and technical weapons are there in front of us. We urge our state government and congressional representatives to take up this challenge.
Every year the federal government borrows hundreds of billions of dollars more than it collects in taxes. Money that should be going into new business and jobs, research and development, roads and bridges, schools and the technologies of tomorrow, has been lost to servicing the national debt (which is currently around $4. 4 trillion dollars).
We cannot ignore the consequences of our nation's deficits and the related costs of debt service (currently around $200 billion dollars). Foreign holdings of our debt have increased greatly and money markets have seen a large percentage of available capital flow away from productive investments, primarily due to federal borrowing.
We agree that actions to reduce the debt and annual federal deficit are in order. We do not agree that working people and small business community should disproportionately shoulder the burden, when the incurrence of the federal debt was, to a large degree, the end product of those who were on watch during the Cold War and military-defense industry buildup. We do not agree that it is an obligation of working people to pay for the hundreds of billions lost in the savings and loan bailout; the billions upon billions being lost on loopholes, tax breaks, and transnational/ multinational corporate tax avoidance; or the hundreds of billions lost due to a failed tax code that has been, in effect, held prisoner to special-interests and has produced historic gross inequities between corporate America and working Americans.
During the 1980's our national debt grew from approximately $1 trillion to its current size. During the remainder of the 1990's, we should move toward reducing the annual federal deficit to achieve a significant reduction in the national debt.
We believe a comprehensive approach that forms a basis to a realistic DEFICIT PLAN would include: tax increases on those corporations and wealthy interests who benefited most in the 1980's; defense reductions to levels approximately $100 billion below the current Administration's planned budget for the year 2000 (the current projected budget is approximately $260 billion/3. 1% of GDP; a viable mix of major conventional forces and a substantial reduction in nuclear forces could bring the defense budget to between $150-$200 billion); and entitlement reductions to those who can afford reductions most (entitlement spending is over 1/2 the federal budget; one way to reduce costs substantially would be by "means testing", i. e. , by scaling back payments to the six million citizens in families with incomes over $50,000 annually. In this way approximately $80-100 billion could be saved annually by the year 2000. )
As our nation considers the hard choices needed to achieve DEBT and DEFICIT REDUCTION, we add our voice to the debate on the side of those who do not support or consider necessary any deep cuts in domestic and discretionary spending. We oppose any cuts at all in the one-fifth of entitlement benefits, including food stamps, family assistance, Medicaid, and supplementary security income, that go to the low-income, aged, blind and disabled.